Turkey and Israel could move towards reconciliation within days or weeks, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview aired Tuesday.
Erdogan told PBS’s Charlie Rose that the issue of the amount of compensation Israel will pay the families of the nine Turks killed on the Mavi Marmara in 2010 as they tried to break the blockade of Gaza has been resolved.
“We have come to an agreement” with regards to compensation, he said, through a translator.
He said that the “other step of the negotiations,” was the issue of sending humanitarian aid to Palestinians through Turkey.
“With the completion of that phase we can move towards a process of normalization,” he said. “I think we’re talking about days, weeks.”
He said that the first step of that normalization would be the exchange of ambassadors.
Turkey withdrew its ambassador immediately after the Mavi Marmara incident, and expelled Israel’s envoy to Ankara the following year.
In Jerusalem, however, officials – who have heard Turkish leaders talk for the last five months about an imminent agreement – were more skeptical.
“We have yet to hear that this is concluded,” one source said.
Another official pointed out that while Erdogan in the past spoke about the need for Israel to remove the naval blockade of Gaza before there would be a reconciliation, in this interview he only talked about “sending humanitarian aid to Palestinians through Turkey.”
The official said this may indicate that Erdogan is no longer demanding that Israel lift the naval blockade as a condition for resuming full ties, something that would make an agreement easier.
The Prime Minister’s Office, meanwhile, continued to remain silent on the matter, declining to comment on the status of the negotiations with Turkey.